Following the charity’s inception in November 2018 the small group of members began to regularly fundraise for equipment and training, gathering the basic equipment required for the team, as well as purchasing the teams first boat and vehicle.
The team also managed to recruit, train and equip a small new cohort just prior to the Covid 19 crisis having a huge impact on everyone’s way of life. To keep members safe in case of their requirement in a major flood, the charity avoided any work directly in the community and was essentially in a holding pattern for approximately 18 months, thankfully being able to survive with the support of local business grants and donations.
After Covid 19 restrictions began to ease, the team was rapidly able to get back on its feet, with requalification of the existing members and a large new cohort being brought on allowing us to go officially live for large scale operations in November 2021. This was swiftly followed by a string of requests for assistance by Cumbria Police over the following 12 months.
The team has now nearly 30 members from all walks of life, with a very wide range of skills. Our core training consists of Water Rescue, Search and Medical skills, along with the staples of navigation, communication and multi-agency working. Our training is both delivered in-house using our instructors, and where appropriate we use externally delivered courses to further expand and validate members skills.
Moving forward the team hopes to continue expanding their capabilities with addition of a drone and underwater ROV unit to fill a local gap in capabilities for specialist searches, particularly when required to operate in the dark or in adverse water conditions.